Child Safety Tips
As a parent, it’s unrealistic to expect that you can watch over your child at all times. No one can be everywhere at once. This is especially true if you have more than one child or school-aged children. However, you can let your heart rest a little easier if you follow these child safety tips.
Practice important procedures with your child. Before allowing them to walk to school by themselves, do a practice run together. Be sure to point out important signs, explain all the symbols they might not understand, and discuss how to determine when it’s safe to cross the street. Remind your child to not only look both directions before crossing, but also to listen for cars that might be turning the corner or coming from behind. It’s also a good idea to determine a secondary “safe place” outside your home for your child to go to in case a parent or older sibling is not at home. This should be a trusted relative or responsible neighbor. Be sure to discuss this with the individual before talking with your child.
Encourage your child to memorize important names, addresses, and phone numbers. Your child should know both parents’ full names and emergency contact numbers, as well as that of other caretakers, if possible. Also, remind your child that this information is sensitive and should not be volunteered to strangers.
Another important element of safety is to ensure that your child understands the difference between safe adults and strangers. Children are often naturally gregarious and trusting. They should not to accept gifts or rides from anyone outside of family members and appointed caretakers, and it’s important that they can distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate physical contact. It’s a good idea to discuss these topics with your child even if they make you feel uncomfortable. If a child has been mistreated or inappropriately touched, it’s vital that he or she feels they can come to a parent with the information to prevent future abuse.
While keeping your children safe may not require that you be with them every moment, it does involve knowing where they are and what they’re doing. A good way to bridge the gap between a child’s social world and home life is to encourage them to invite their friends to dinner or for sleepovers and play dates. This will also provide an opportunity for you to meet the parent dropping off or picking up your child’s friend. If you establish a relationship with fellow parents, this can not only help you worry less, but may also add to your own network of adults you can trust to help keep your child safe.